Category: Historical reprints
Source: The Spokesman-Review, November 8, 1984
Ex-Red Newsman Hits ‘Negativism’
By Tim Hansen, Staff writer
Americans shouldn’t believe newspaper and television stories that offer “intense negativism” about the United States, a former employee of the Soviet news agency Novosti said Wednesday.
“Articles can be constructive or destructive,” said Tomas Schuman. “Many articles are too pessimistic for the moral fiber of this country. Some negativism is unhealthy and some is the result of Soviet propaganda.”
Schuman, 45, is on a speaking tour arranged by American Opinion Speakers Bureau, a branch of the John Birch Society. He was in town to speak Wednesday night at Garfield Elementary School.
According to a John Birch Society press release, Schuman was born near Moscow, graduated from Moscow State University and went to work for Novosti, a Soviet news agency.
Schuman defected to the West in 1970 while working at the Soviet embassy in New Delhi, India, the release says. He now is a Canadian citizen living in Los Angeles as the guest of a friend, he said.
In addition to handling news, Novosti was a “huge public relations agency” that did its best to show pleasant aspects of the Soviet Union to foreign visitors, he said.
While in India, Schuman said, it was part of his job to manipulate Indian journalists so that positive information about the Soviet Union or stories designed to promote a Soviet point of view would be published.
In the United States, he said, half of the negativism is encouraged by the Soviets.
“I’m trying to tell people how the process of disinformation affects their day-to-day life and how to recognize false stories and what to do about it,” Schuman said. “They should not believe the intense negativism about this country.
“This is the best system — maybe not the perfect one — but let’s face it; it’s the best. And when the normal person reads bad things about this country and good things about Cuba, Nicaragua and the Soviet Union, it’s a lie.”
He said it’s a “question of balance” of news in the media.
“If day after day the average citizen is exposed to negative reports about this country, subconsciously he feels bad about this country, Schuman said.
Part of Novosti’s role was to concoct phrases such as right-wing death squads and national liberation movement, he said.
“These are highly trained psychologists who coin these phrases.” Schuman said. “Take national liberation movement. They are not nationalistic, they don’t liberate anyone and they are not movements … they’re nothing but a bunch of professional murderers trained in my country.”
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